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The EvO:R Street Journal
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Balancing your job with music
By Louis Lamp
Some lessons can be taught. Some are better learned through
experience. Some lessons aren't learned at all. We all have something
that could fit in each of these areas.
Balancing your job with music (for those musicians who qualify in
the 'don't quit your day job' category) is something we need to be
professional at. Especially if our music careers aren't yet self-
There are several areas that require a balance of some sort, and
planning ahead is one of your biggest responsibilities. Balance (of
some sort) must be achieved at least financially and with time
management, beyond that there are also emotional and other
First, the money. No business starts or continues to operate for
free. If you hold a day job, you have four major considerations (plus
more that may apply specifically to you - remember to add them). They
are: Family/Personal needs (bills, car payments, food, life
necessities, non-necessities, gambling and drinking, etc). Personal
Retirement needs: If you're not saving up for retirement, you may be
setting yourself up for failure. Ways in which to do this (which it
is possible to save up for it, even in this business), can be found
all over the place. Free advice is worth as much as it costs, and
everyone has a different opinion. Educate yourself. The third is your
music business. Any money that you spend on travel, equipment, and
anything else relating to getting your music heard, goes here. The
last one (which may only apply for certain day-jobs) is Occupation
needs. These are things like uniforms and equipment that you have to
replace, or purchase, or anything else that you spend out of your own
pocket, relating to work.
Here is an example:
1: Retirement (pay yourself first)
2: Family/Personal Needs
Prioritize in a way that is right for you. If you come up with a
blank, or feel that you don't know what's right, then break each one
down, and start looking at pro's and con's.
There are times where the order gets changed, but generally, planning
for the future takes priority. In the future, there will be youngins
to send to college, retirement to pay for (dont count on Social
Security), medical bills and more. Next up is to ensure that you have
food in your mouth and a shelter over your head (this includes your
family and anyone else you care for). Music comes before occupation
because it is likely one of your passions in life, and also, your
employer should be able to provide nearly everything for your line of
work (unless your self-employed in your 'day job' as well - this
article is assuming you work for someone else).
Actually balancing the money is unique to your situation. Go over
your financial plan frequently and set possible goals. If you set a
lofty goal, then be sure to substantiate it, to include 'how you are
going to get there'. How much money you should put into each area is
up to you, and some areas have obligations that you can't change. You
can, however, ask others for advice.
Next up, time management. There are a few things to look at here -
vacation time, as well as your daily routine.
Paid vacation time is a gem if you have it, and if so, you can use it
(much more freely than unpaid vacation time) for collaboration with
artists elsewhere in the world, or for doing a short tour, or even
just doing the back office work of your business. If you don't get
vacation time, you can still ask for large amounts of time off. This
option isn't recommended, unless your employer supports your music
career, and that your job is not put in any jeapordy whatsoever by
being gone for weeks or months at a time.
Most jobs tend to have designated shifts. Taking care of music work
and personal and family needs at the same time is always difficult,
and is most easily done during time off, in most cases. If you have
one of those jobs where you don't have much to do, and your employer
doesn't have a problem with it, use their computers and internet
access (if you have it) to get your online work done.
Do it Yourself vs. paying Someone Else (or hiring a friend). This
also goes into time management. How much DIY is too much? When you're
struggling to attain 4 hours of regular sleep each night. While this
little tidbit of advice isn't great, it's often best to evaluate your
performance and find out what takes up the most of your time, that
you could possibly trust someone else to do. As a side-note, if you
have a band (and am not a soloist, like me), use your band members if
you can. Find friends that might be willing to help promote your
album. Back to the train of thought - anything from sending emails,
writing news letters and press releases, radio promotion, web
promotion, website creation/maintenance, maintaining current profiles
on sites such as Sonicbids, are some things that you may be able to
get some help with.
Last but not least, emotional stuff. This is an area that I know
squat about, so instead of spouting things I think I know about this
area, I leave it to you to educate yourself on that. I may do a
future article either about money or stress... just be on the lookout.
So, now that I'm done with the advice part, here's my news, in brief:
Amazon.com is the latest online retailer to add Louis Lamp's debut
album, An Open Mind, to their 'shelves'. Go buy it now!
An Open Mind is available for download on Paradice Net
(www.paradice.net). The files are provided by Weedshare, and you can
listen to it for free three times. Try before you buy.
Paradice Net has gotten a facelift, and is now better suited for
management of several ongoing projects, but still has a long way to
go. Leave us feedback!
Need a place to stick a link to your band's website? Looking for
music by genre? Register and submit your site's link at Paradice Net
# # #
That about covers it. This article was originally written for
publication in the EvO:R Street Journal, though you may have seen it, elsewhere.
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